The ABCs of Diabetes

The "ABCs" and other tests help your health care team manage your diabetes. Your doctor will set goals for each.

stands for A1C
The A1C test measures the average amount of sugar that has been in your blood over the past 2 to 3 months. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends an A1C goal of less than 7% for many adults with diabetes. The A1C goal for some people may need to be higher or lower. You should have your A1C checked 2 to 4 times a year. Ask your doctor what is the right A1C goal for you.

stands for blood pressure
Blood pressure is the force of blood moving through your blood vessels. Many people with type 2 diabetes have high blood pressure. High blood pressure means that your heart is working harder than it should to pump blood through your body. You should have your blood pressure checked every time you visit your doctor.

The American Diabetes Association recommends a blood pressure goal of less than 140/90 mm Hg for adults with diabetes. A lower blood pressure target may be appropriate for some patients.

stands for cholesterol
Cholesterol is a fat-like substance found in the blood. LDL (low-density lipoprotein) and HDL (high-density lipoprotein) are 2 types of cholesterol in your blood. LDL is the "bad" cholesterol because it narrows or blocks blood vessels. This can increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. HDL is often called "good" because it can carry "bad" cholesterol away from the walls of your arteries. Cholesterol levels are checked with a blood test. You should have your cholesterol checked when diagnosed with diabetes, at an initial medical evaluation, and every 5 years thereafter, or as often as recommended by your health care team.

Goals for cholesterol (LDL and HDL) and triglycerides are not the same for every patient with diabetes. Ask your health care provider about the cholesterol target that is right for you.


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